Recently headlines were made as 118 oncologist, of the 22,125 currently active in the United States, sounded the alarm publicly about the rising price of cancer drugs calling them “unsustainable.” This rebellious 118, or half of one percent, appear to be making a valid argument from within a tightly controlled and highly profitable cancer industry. Perhaps unaware to most oncologist and others within the mainstream medical system is that drug companies rely on fraud and half truths to circulate their products. In fact, most major drug companies have repeatedly shown that profit margins trump empathy, true healing and human life 8 days a week.
America has the world’s worst health care system among developed countries ranking last in efficiency, equity and outcomes. The truth about the current state of cancer therapy in the United States can be understood from this sobering exchange during a recent NPR interview. Talking to everyone’s favorite monotone NPR host Robert Siegel, Dr. Ayalew Tefferi of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn made valid observations of a career oncologist that was beginning to understand how the cancer monopoly he works within.
“TEFFERI: Here is a typical scenario. Cancer is a very scary word, so whenever I tell them that they have some form of cancer, that's a catastrophe. That's devastation. Everybody's shocked. But they don't know about the second shock that's coming, and that is the financial destruction that's coming with it. That comes during the course of treatment. That comes after the patient dies. All of a sudden, they see that their lifelong savings is being given to drug companies.
SIEGEL: Have you had patients who, faced with the cost of cancer drugs and other parts of the therapies, would - have sold off the farm or the house or...
TEFFERI: Many. And most patients don't even tell you. They think they're wasting your time. They think that that's their problem, not your problem. They suffer quietly.”
The cancer drug prices are fixed by the drug companies that manufacture them. As those within the medical system like Dr. Tefferi continue to raise alarm, a generally unaware public is getting a first hand education of the medical monopoly that presides over health care. Perhaps the closest Tefferi gets to the real core of the matter, or at least what he is comfortable sharing publicly, is when he blows the whistle on drug companies stating:
“What we are against is greed. That's what is really skyrocketing these prices because the prices are fixed by the drug companies. There is no regulation….the point is there is a crisis.”
The uncomfortable truth is that drug companies continue to be the the abusive parents of an infantile medical system too young and inexperienced to venture out alone. Although temper-tantrums like Dr. Tefferi’s are brave and needed, he is still living under the roof of his oppressors.
The Journal of Clinical Oncology study titled “The Future of Radiation Oncology in the United States From 2010-2020: Will Supply Keep Pace with Demand?” projected that “between 2010 and 2020, demand for radiation therapy will increase 10 times faster than supply of radiation oncologists.” In addition it was reported by The United States Department of Health and Human Services that incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29 percent in the past 20 years. With statistics like these and studies using terms like supply and demand, the public is beginning to ask en masse where we took a wrong turn.
The downfall arguably started with the Flexner Report giving birth to “Rockefeller medicine” which effectively stomped out true natural cures. From there the roots of an industrial-corporate-medical monopoly manifested as the German company IG Farben and then later morphing into several multinational drug company monopolies. The “crisis” Dr. Tefferi describes won’t end through the adjustment of a few cancer drug prices. The nature of monopolies is control, and at their core, abuse of power. In addition to having effectively captured regulatory agencies long ago, pharmaceutical companies have annual profits dwarfing most states and some countries. To play in their system is to lose. The fact will always remain that nature cannot be patented and thus, natural cures are the mortal enemy of drug companies whose lifeblood is profits. The legal rap sheets of pharmaceutical companies are further proof of their lack of empathy and profits-over-people directives.
"When docs turn against chemotherapy because it's chemotherapy & not because it's expensive... That will be the day." -Robert Scott Bell
In closing, the epiphany of a veteran oncologist who has finally understood a game many alternative health practitioners sorted out years ago echoes loudly. A lifetime spent climbing a falsely constructed educational ladder towards what many oncologist believe to be true healing. The efforts of whistle blowing doctors are timelessly noble and their hearts in the right place. Individuals like Dr. Tefferi provide a new high water mark in the daily effort of humanity to take back their individual power and step into responsibility for their health and healing.
“Everybody's responsible here - the insurance companies, Medicare, the government regulators. They need to start regulating this. The doctors also have responsibility. The patients have responsibility. There is nobody who is doing a critical assessment of value. Everybody's writing up the prescription. And somebody's taking it to the pharmacy, and they're taking the drug without asking questions, is it really helping me, or is it just emptying my pockets?” Dr. Ayalew Tefferi
Dr. Tefferi’s NPR Interview
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